"Kubla Khan" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Essay by zohebA-, October 2003

download word file, 2 pages 5.0

"Kubla Khan" is a romantic poem written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It has been known that Coleridge was addicted to opium and that he actually saw a vision while he was "high" on opium. And out of this opium-induced dream the poem "Kubla Khan" was created. Coleridge uses a lot of poetic devices in this poem such as sounds, imagery, and symbols. All the elements of this poem contribute to its implicit argument, that Coleridge's addiction to opium brought him pleasure and suffering.

One of the devices that Coleridge uses to show the pleasures and hazards of his addiction is sound. One of the first sounds in the poem is very violet an horrifying. It is of a "woman wailing for her demon lover!" The woman wailing is more like a person would feel when he or she needs drugs. There is so much pain and suffering in this word "wailing."

Then Coleridge goes on to "ancestral voices prophesying war!" This sound is also very violent. These are the loud sounds that are foreshadowing violence and pain and suffering in the future. However, next sounds that Coleridge describes are more of pleasure than of suffering. It a sound of a dulcimer. It is very calm and relaxing. One enjoys the "symphony and song." This is like the very pleasure Coleridge gets after the suffering of longing for opium.

Another poetic device that Coleridge uses is symbolism. The "sunny pleasure dome" and the "caves of ice" are the most used symbols in the poem. They are the symbols for the pleasure and pain of drug addiction. The "sunny pleasure dome" symbolizes the heavenly place full beauty. These beautiful gardens and rivers and fountains surround it. Suddenly, there are "caves of ice." They symbolize hell and suffering...